When we think of wine sweetness, we mostly think of residual sugar in wine. However, there are other factors that weigh into how we perceive a wine’s sweetness, such as acidity, alcohol content, and tannins. In this post, we will focus on residual sugars as the primary indicator of wine sweetness.
A wine with a sweetness content of less than one percent is called a dry wine. On the exact opposite end of the spectrum, we have sweet wines. The sweetest sweet wines have up to nine percent sweetness. Sweet wine types include ice wine, white port, Moscato, and Riesling, to name a few.
Using a wine sweetness chart can help you determine which wines are right for you and how much sugar is in the wine you love. Sweet wine types can vary depending on the winemaker's process. Remember, sweetness in wine is determined by the amount of residual sugar in the wine after fermentation. If the winemaker stops fermentation early, the result is a sweet wine. Some of your favorite wines likely come in a range of sweetnesses. Consulting a sweet wine chart can be a great way to get a general idea of how sweet a wine is.
You can find an excellent wine sweetness chart for reds and whites here.
Now, the next question is: what do we serve with wines to complement their sweetness - or lack thereof? A sweet Riesling, for example, works perfectly with soft cheeses, pastas in cream sauces, smoked meats, and bread. Sweet whites are the choice for finger foods and appetizers, and sweet reds make a juicy steak or hamburger meal complete.
Ultimately, though, your choice of wine pairings comes down to your personal preferences. The exciting part of learning about wine is experimenting and exploring: try different sweet wine types. Try dry wines. Try a spectrum, and enjoy the flavors!